In the sprawling landscape of indie rock, marked by its diverse array of talents and sonic experiments, Hoboken, NJ’s own BB Stevens stands tall as a true luminary. Having signed his first record deal with a major label at the tender age of sixteen, Stevens embarked on a journey that would see him traverse the diverse terrains of the music industry. His notable production and songwriting credits for international icons like Madonna, alongside recent collaborations with the former Saving Abel vocalist Scotty Austin and award-winning record producer Malcolm Springer, have solidified his position as a versatile and accomplished artist.
Now, after a brief hiatus from the spotlight, BB Stevens has returned with a fervent expression of his creative prowess in the form of an EP, aptly titled “Not My Monkeys.” Released through Stryker Records, an imprint label of the Universal Music Group Ingrooves family, this record is an electrifying testament to his enduring passion for raw and unapologetic rock music.
“Not My Monkeys” immediately thrusts listeners into a whirlwind of gritty guitar riffs, BB Stevens’ raw and abrasive vocal tones, and a relentless rhythmic energy. The EP resonates with an intensity and directness that leaves an indelible mark, hitting the listener straight in the gut. Stevens masterfully weaves together shimmering elements of both alternative and classic rock, resulting in a collection of fierce and immersive rock ‘n’ roll anthems that pierce through the cacophony of a music era often dominated by machine-generated sounds.
In essence, “Not My Monkeys” is a ferocious record, as sharp as a saber, and as unyielding as a diamond. In a musical landscape saturated with sweetness and light or generic dance-inducing tunes, BB Stevens is a sonic maverick, an intelligent assault upon the senses. His precision-tooled rock is as raw, raucous and loud as it needs to be.
From the opening track, “GoodBiBaby,” to the resounding “Lucifer’s Rain,” the soul-baring “Spirit Be Gone,” the emotionally charged “Mercy, Mercy,” and the introspective “Hard, Hard Place,” each track on this EP bursts with dynamism and a disarming awareness of what constitutes a quintessential BB Stevens composition.
The EP opener, “GoodBiBaby” is a strikingly powerful and thought-provoking song that delves into themes of identity, sexuality, and the complexities of human relationships. BB Stevens’ lyrical prowess, vivid imagery, and catchy chorus construct a narrative that challenges societal norms and encourages self-acceptance and self-discovery.
“Lucifer’s Rain,” on the other hand, is a poignant and introspective musical commentary that addresses the sociopolitical turmoil and moral crisis that unfolded during the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Through evocative imagery, allegorical references, and rhythmic intensity, the song serves as a powerful call for vigilance and moral integrity in the face of political corruption and the erosion of democratic values. BB Stevens’ passionate delivery and insightful storytelling make “Lucifer’s Rain” a compelling and thought-provoking piece, demonstrating his ability to channel the turbulent zeitgeist into his music.
“Spirit Be Gone” is a heartfelt and introspective exploration of the aftermath of a toxic relationship. With evocative imagery and raw emotion, the song encapsulates the struggle to break free from the emotional chains of the past and find solace in letting go. BB Stevens’ poignant storytelling and emotive delivery make “Spirit Be Gone” a powerful and relatable piece, striking a chord with anyone who has faced the haunting echoes of a painful past.
“Mercy, Mercy” stands as a poignant musical exploration of the depths of emotional pain and inner turmoil. Through evocative imagery, heartfelt lyrics, and a vocal delivery that carries the weight of profound vulnerability, BB Stevens captures the essence of human suffering and the yearning for understanding and relief from emotional anguish. The song’s affecting portrayal of despair and the plea for mercy and empathy resonates with listeners on a profoundly emotional level, underscoring the universality of the human experience.
“Hard, Hard Place” further deepens the emotional resonance of the EP by delving into the complexities of internal struggle and the challenges of managing mental health issues. BB Stevens’ evocative imagery and poignant lyrics provide a window into the emotional entrapment and inner turmoil faced by countless individuals. This introspective examination of the emotional rollercoaster and the plea for understanding and empathy offers solace and a sense of connection for those navigating their own experiences of internal conflict and emotional turmoil.
In “Not My Monkeys,” BB Stevens demonstrates his mastery in crafting music that transcends the superficial and penetrates the soul. The EP is a testament to his resilience, innovation, and the unwavering commitment to his craft. BB Stevens has unapologetically shattered the confines of conformity and delivered a work that reminds us of the vitality and substance that rock music can bring to our lives. As we navigate an age where manufactured soundscapes dominate, BB Stevens emerges as a torchbearer of uncompromising rock excellence. “Not My Monkeys” is an electric journey that leaves a lasting impression.